Securing a Child Support Obligation through A Child Support Trust

Divorced parents often rely on child support from their former spouse as a way to make ends meet and provide support for their children. Generally, Courts award child support in a manner that suits the best interest of the child and statutory guidelines. In 2017, Illinois adopted the income shares model for child support which means that the statutory guidelines are based on the combined net income of both parents. Additionally, child support is always modifiable upon a significant change in circumstances or other reasons outlined below and pursuant to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act.

But what if your former spouse is unable to pay child support, due to incarceration, long term disability, or inability to hold a job? Illinois law states that “ The court if necessary to protect and promote the best interests of the children may set aside a portion of the jointly or separately held estates of the parties in a separate fund or trust for the support, maintenance, education, physical and mental health, and general welfare of any minor, dependent, or incompetent child of the parties.” 750 ILCS 5/503(g).

When determining whether or not a child support trust is appropriate, the Court can consider many factors including the conviction of one of the parties for specific criminal offenses outlined in the statute such as criminal sexual conduct, if the victim is a child of one or both of the parties, and if there will be a need and cost for the care, healing, and counseling for the child.

Parents who would normally receive child support payments directly from their former spouse would instead receive payments from the trust. Like child support received directly from a former spouse, payments from a child support trust end when the obligation to pay child support terminates.

Child support trusts are a good option for parents who are eligible for child support but have a former spouse who is highly unlikely to be able to pay child support over time. A child support trust offers peace of mind, both to the parent receiving the support, and to the parent paying support who would not need to worry about making payments once the trust is funded.

QG Law is prepared to handle complicated child support cases like those that potentially involve the creation of a child support trust. As a firm that also focuses on estate planning, we are uniquely suited to handle such cases. Reach out to GQ Law to learn more.